foalstory: (Ally grazing)
Almost ....

Back at the vet clinic in Utah, we worked to get the heart meds he needed (human meds but needed to be compounded in quantities for a horse). Wraps were changed daily (the 4th leg finally blew and filled up with edema while in Idaho, so all 4 were wrapped).

Christmas? I had the day off and was either sleeping, researching online, or visiting Ally. There was such hope from both the vets involved, although by now the entire clinic (and the other vets) all knew me and Ally and helped out whenever needed. Christmas had never been much of a 'day' for me but this officially .... changed it. I've never had a holiday mean so little to me other than the fact I needed kitty litter at 10pm the night before and couldn't park the dually at my apartment complex (too big!) so returned it at 11pm on Chistmas eve.

Religious? no. Else perhaps i'd have been in a chapel somewhere to go escape and pray and believe in something higher.

What DID I believe in? modern medicine and Ally's own will power. HE had not given up yet, how the hell was I to give up on him? No, I had no idea how $100 a week medication would affect me in the long run but I wasn't thinking that far in advance. I would find ways, I had before.

Mostly, I hung out with Ally, treasuring the time I had while feeling totally helpless and useless. It was too cold to unblanket him and brush him -- plus it was no longer a 'fun' thing to do with the way he looked. The Edema was taking on a life of its own, like a parasite sucking the marrow from his bones. I could hug him and say goodbye every time I left, since we didn't know if his heart would make it through the night, or the afternoon or ... whatever was next. I would visit at 10pm, at 4am, at 2pm, whenever I could stand it, emotionally. Sometimes the visits were short, as they would emotionally drain me to nothing before I had to go home and rest.

I went back to work (only took the day off for the drive to Idaho) although I could not tell you a single thing I did other than wait and take off early (and come in late) between visits to the vet clinic.

A few days after back from Idaho, Ally started going downhill again. We debated and then tapped him again. 15-17 liters of fluid AGAIN drained, so the infection was still ragging like crazy.

Ally needed time for the meds to do their job, I needed sanity (I'm really not sure what happened during this time, but I did what I had to do and I knew there was no other choice), and we did what we could to give it to him.

In the midst of this, the one grace was my parents. They actually understood why I was doing what I was doing -- although I had left out the details of the harrowing Idaho trip. A year earlier my elderly cat (who stayed with them) had to be put down and they had done what they could for her until she gave up and it was time. I was doing the same thing and with something that WAS treatable, why not give it a go?

okok, so the success rates weren't high, but this combination of heart failure and pneumonia typically showed up in racehorses where the owners were more focused on the bottom line and early euthanasia was common to save costs.

And in case anyone is wondering: no. the vets in no way pressured or influenced me or any of my decisions. I'm a smart ass around vets, questioning their statements, their assumptions, making them back up their assertions, etc. They quickly figure out to treat me closer to an equal (at least don't talk down to me) and lay out the facts, letting me decide on the path. I had full support and Dr. Hammer was almost gleeful to finally be able to TREAT one of these horses instead of having to euthanize them so early, too soon in his mind.

So we drained fluid again and Ally perked up - amazing! Eating again, more interest in life and all together refreshed.

This time though, it didn't last as long. By new year's eve I knew there wasn't much hope. By new years day I knew it was going to be soon - on January second we knew draining the fluid a third time was only risking a secondary infection and falling into a pattern from which there was no recovery. We both agreed and I went to bed that night knowing the next day I was going to kill my horse.
foalstory: (Ally gaze)
Driven to find Answers (literally)

The drive to Idaho is not one I'd ever like to repeat, at least under those circumstances. Typically I can't do road trips since about an hour+ in a car puts me to sleep. Try a strange BIG (one ton dually) truck pulling a trailer (I had about 8 hours trailering experience in me) with snow blowing sideways across the road (high winds, flat plains) so you could only follow the tracks of the semi in front of you (two lanes but we all condensed into one for safety's sake) and silently pray.

Oh, and meanwhile you are hoping your horse is still ALIVE in the back of the trailer and hasn't fallen down dead from heart failure yet.

Or when you are REALLY in the middle of butt fuck no where, can't get anyone on the phone, finally get Sarah H and have her google map your location and where a gas station might be, cause you REALLY should have topped off before crossing into the Idaho (aka land of nothing) border.

Thank god for friends. I know I talked to MANY of you that day - friends from back home, LJ friends, international LJ friends, and just all sorts. I didn't even have any caffeine in me, I was running on 100% adrenaline.

I know I ate food and such but I couldn't tell you what. I think power bars and something I got at the Butt Fuck Nowhere gas station I found (thankGOD).

Ally was feverish again, so without removing him from the trailer, I removed a blanket (sure, YOU climb under your horse in a trailer and pray you don't die….) so he wouldn't overheat and said another prayer or twenty (btw, I just don't pray but these days I was). I was afraid if I got him off the trailer, he'd never get back on. In the middle of a snow storm and high winds. GREAT combination, not.

Sometime after dark, I got there:

Idaho Eq sign

I found Dr. Knight, unloaded Ally into an ice covered parking lot (oh joys!), and we staggered (both) into the clinic. With a short detour to find he was 300 lbs underweight (from his weight at age 5, he had probably had even more), we stuck him into the stocks and they got to work while I tried to not faceplant.

rental truck & Judy's rig

The key to this place was the cardio ultrasound, which Dr. Knight was a specialist in. She took a look, tapped the cavity around his heart and voila! FIRST bloodtest with a sign of infection. Actually, MEGA signs of infection. Tons of fluid, white blood cell counts through the roof. There was in fact so much fluid, she couldn't get a good look at his heart. But the fluid meant he did have pneumonia, probably caught from the trip from CA to UT that summer and it had been slowly simmering under everything else. So we drained….

pic cut for squeamish )

And then we tapped the other side and drained and drained and… you get the idea.

17 liters in all by the end. Which allowed us to take a good look at his heart and do an EKG:

This was only a part of the print out. His heart was *literally* skipping beats at times along with being terrifyingly erratic. However, he was perking up a bit without all that fluid compressing around his heart.

A lot more happened, I journalled in it more detail if more sleep deprived back then. The key was the HOPE I finally felt. We were finding answers, finding causes, finding problems. Not just symptoms. What did it mean yet? I really did not know. We knew if we could find the specific bacterial strain for his pneumonia, the right antibiotics could be used to target that strain (rather than a general course that won't have as much effect). Add in heart drugs and so many others I was giving him on top of pain killers and lasix and everything else … this was hope, right?

Really, it was the beginning of the end. Oh, they took me to the offices (heated!) and we talked for an hour or more about prognosis and everything else. I'd already accepted (begrudgingly) that at most I'd only have a glorified pasture pet with the amount of damage Ally's heart already had. I still secretly believed I could hop on bareback at the walk and if he stumbled, I could jump free before being injured. But this was reality. It was also the first time I'd really SEEN Ally without his blankets off (we were in the middle of a horrid cold snap) in a week. And this (compared to the last photos a week earlier) is what I had:

cut again )

So I had answers, I had hope I was clinging too, but I had RELIEF that we KNEW for once what was going on, or at least enough of it to treat him properly. We decided to keep him there an extra day to let him recover (and I think me as much as anything else…. I slept like the DEAD that night, oh lord I've never been so exhausted). I spent the next day hanging out with Ally, visiting the feed/tack store next door and not much else. It was the day before xmas, not really the time to be out and about town without insane traffic. Oh, and I did find a liquor store to stock up on stuff we couldn't get in Utah :) apparently PART of my brain was still functioning.

hanging out with him in the stall that night with my Outback takout food

eating! carrot at least

Christmas Eve day we headed back to Utah. I was elated - HOPE! ANSWERS! - and terrified. I don't think I talked about the terror so much back then. The honest fact was that Ally could simply DIE at any point. I couldn't see him in the trailer, so the stops were always a fear charged event until I opened the trailer door or heard him move around.

Alive, and eating at a rest stop

munch munch munch

The backseat of the truck: Ultium grain, 2 bags of pelleted rice bran (no one ever sells this stuff!!!), beer cases, a hastily packed overnight bag and some gifts from the tack & feed store located right next to the clinic....

The front seat: water, ipod connection, cell charger, manilla envelope with a million print outs of medical articles, maps and maps:

This drive I used caffeine, I was wound down to nearly nothing. But we made it in MUCH better non-snow-storm time and with as nearly many phone conversations with people from all over. I don't even think I've talked to some of you since then, but I STILL remember them an acute haze. Yeah, brain functions were somewhat limited.

Almost home. SLC downtown

Hanging out back at the clinic

So we were home, we had a PLAN, we had MEDS (well, MORE specific meds and more meds overall), more grain, rice bran pellets, and the horse was EATING again! It was possible, right? And in truth, Ally hadn't given up either. The way he perked up after we removed the fluid really gave all of us hope. A lot of hope.

More hope than we should have had.


Jan. 4th, 2009 09:03 pm
foalstory: (Default)
Photos for my first post, the after-the-end one. Updated now, but these are some of the flower photos I took but never ever posted:

foalstory: (Ally crest)
The Search

WHAT was wrong with Ally we still did not know, but the search was on. I started researching all his symptoms …. and found out that nearly all the major equine illnesses presented with the same batch of symptoms (midline edema, anorexia, weight loss, lethargy, etc).

That Ally was losing weight now was without question. What seemed like regular weight loss from a new climate/cold was obviously something MUCH more as he lost muscle tone, fat layers, and most everything else. And all VERY quickly.

I searched the internet, I got into veterinary databases of articles, I asked CoTH and a dozen other sites (a few lucky guesses, but of the possibilities, it was statistically going to happen).

Within a few days the edema got rapidly worse. First it went away for a day (oh ye devilish false hope…) then came back with a VENGANCE, filling up his entire midline from sheath to chest, then including his chest. Then it started down into his legs, first just the hind legs.

His fever was spiking by this point, 103, 104, whatever it felt like. Drugs of all types were being used and it finally got to the point where he was eating so little we HAD to get him into the hospital (which fortunately charged $17 a day for a stall vs. UC Davis' $275 a day). One of my first goals was to bring him home. Obviously way ahead of myself.

Midline edema and weight loss before the last hospital trip, you can see the pronounced hollows over his eyes even at this point:

At liberty with Denali, Ally would run but only just barely. This was a horse locked up in a 12x12 stall nearly 24 hours a day (no more pasture, he was being picked on -- they knew he was sick) and by all rights should have been extremely insane with energy. THIS was ALLY, for crying aloud. The horse I HAD to ride 6 days a week just to barely keep him sane.

Early lethargy and an oddly weak hind end:

The Suspect
We started to think it was the heart, such as an infection in one of the valves, but the only way was to try to test him some more, ultrasound and get him into the clinic. So off Ally went:

At the clinic, catheter in place and obvious weight loss in his neck but perkier because of the fluids and grain we were giving him (Ultium):

I lived at this clinic. They didn't mind if I stopped by at 1am or not. As the only major large animal clinic in the entire state, most folks had to ship their horses there from far away and keep updated through phone calls. I stayed, I hung his xmas stocking on his stall, I bought and left treats there, we kept up with his bicarb doses, we bought Ultium and Succeed and anything else to stimulate appetite and let him eat whatever he wanted (bags of carrots and Mrs. Pasture cookies galore!).

Dr. Hammer let me raid their veterinary text book collection and I read up in the warm office, alternating between that and wool and down layers to hang out with Ally in the 12 F weather and take him for short-short walks where there was no ice on the ground (tricky to do!).

three down…
By this point the Edema worsened. It finally hit one of his front legs (but not the other, no idea why the delay) and we had stack wraps on all three. I did furazone wraps and stacks and vetwrap galore on top of hydro therapy and anything else that I could do between work and sleep (all there WAS for me) that they might not have time for or time to get to yet. Without the wraps, his legs would have split open. We had to wrap down to the coronary band, swearing off any damage we might be doing with pressure that tight in order to ensure as much pressure as possible to keep the edema down and keep him mobile (as mobile as you ARE with wraps like that …).

I didn't take photos of this. I didn't WANT photos of his legs with absolutely NO definition between the bones and joints. They weren't even legs anymore.

Yet, we still felt we had hope, these were just SYMPTOMS. We had to find the problem.

Radical Steps
Thursday evening, Dr. Hammer calls me and suggests that we get a cardio ultrasound. He tried with the probes they had at the clinic, but they didn't have any specific for the heart. The only way to do that was to take him to Idaho Equine Hospital (about same distance as UC Davis and Colorado State, but those two involved extreme up/downs in elevation that would stress his heart too much).

Oh, and let's do this TOMORROW and by the time I got there it would be emergency hours but their Cardio specialist Dr. Knight had already promised to stay around and take care of us.

Somehow, I got a trailer - Judy's, and then a truck (rental, Judy needed hers although I would have rented her a SUV to use and used her truck if needed) first thing Friday morning, loaded up Ally and hit the road.

In a white out snow storm.

To Idaho.

On nearly no sleep.

And an 8 hour drive.

THAT'S how bad I needed answers.

last rides

Jan. 4th, 2009 04:20 pm
foalstory: (Ally bridle)
But Doctor, SOMETHING is wrong, I swear it

Ever had a sixth sense about your horses? With Ally's RTA (renal tubular acidosis) and multiple relapses (and hospital ICU visits) over the years, I really did have that level of sense. I could hang out with him and just 'tell' what sort of mood he was in. Oh, sure I'm certain I was picking up on body language and other indicators but it wasn't anything I could clearly articulate (beyond the one day I walked into his stall and he didn't even turn to look at me, I knew FAST he was bad off).

That's how all of this started. YOU try going to a vet with a "I know I sound paranoid, but I swear upon anything there is something NOT RIGHT with this horse".

I knew something wasn't right on some level for two to three months. NOTHING in his bloodwork showed anything abnormal. We ran tests for EVA, for Lyme's disease and a whole slew of additional tests through a laboratory down in Texas.

Then I did the one thing that was almost guaranteed to make him sick. I LEFT. I flew home to California for a week's vacation a few weeks before Christmas. In the past, he would have an RTA relapse almost the moment I left town, it really was quite the stress inducer (in both of us, it seemed). A few days into California and I'm getting phone calls about explosive diarrhea (retroactively: fluid from around his heart trying to escape through his digestive system) so so so bad that they were getting him to the vets asap and could I possibly help from 700 miles away? Um. Not really although I WAS ready and willing to fly back if I was needed. But Judy got him trailed over to the vets and they treated him with fluids (ironic) until his system settled down and such. Might have had a fever, but it went away. Sent him back home a day before I got home.

Then, it happened again. And went away. More visits from the vets. Dr. Hammer and I were on a first name basis although I still called him Dr. Hammer out of habit/respect. At LEAST by this time they agreed with me that something was wrong, but what WAS it?

Then the Edema showed up. I girthed him up one day and while lunging, noticed the 'dent' made by the girth in his belly. I stopped immediately and realized he had midline pitting edema. I pulled the tack off and rode him around bareback while I waited for Dr. Hammer to arrive (good thing the clinic was only 2 miles away…), trying to get circulation going, thinking perhaps the edema was from all his stall rest time from the diarrhea episodes.

I had no idea that was my last ride on Ally, ever.
foalstory: (Ally & me)
I wrote the beginning and the post-end, so I might as well go straight to the end. Yes, I'm writing these out of order.

Past the End

the heart
I didn't see Dr. Hammer for a few months at least, not until he came out to do the spring vaccinations at the barn. While there I finally asked him -- and he said he hadn't called because he knew when I was ready, I would ask him. About what? About what he found Read more... )

The earlier cardio ultrasound had shown weakness, the jugular backflow indicated weakness but this …. this was a surprise to both Dr. Hammer and myself. It also explained so so much about the constant struggles and ups and downs Ally went through prior to this. The irregular heartbeat heard that summer before leaving California? Logical . The three years of summertime weight loss while I rode him more and more and more that his body couldn't quite keep up with? Ah-ha. The staggering on our trail ride while a gallop nearly put him into a heartattack (or probably DID, but we had no idea)? Bingo. Talk about a major muscle cramp.

Interesting, his kidneys were fine. Nov 99 to Jan 07 on bicarbonate for his renal tubular acidosis, and the kidneys were a-okay. THAT's what I figured would be the part of his body to fail and kill him off someday. Just, not so soon. And not some other part of his body.

Even now I turn into an idiot when it comes to Ally. I can start to mention my 'horses' to someone and suddenly I just HAVE to tell them that I had another, that I lost him, then how I lost him and how horrible it was. Dear gods, I've turned into one of THOSE people. The ones that corner you and talk and talk and talk and you nod politely and try to escape. Apparently grief takes bizarre twists and turns.

I knew from almost the day after he died that I wanted a tattoo of Ally. I contacted Kate about it -- and she'd already wanted to do some sort of artwork for me for Ally so our intentions merged very well. However, it was going to take time for me to decide, time to know, time to do it all ….

The original design was gorgeous, but it wasn't right for my skin, my body. I had to figure that out and finally a year and a half later I DID. I found the odd combination of celtic and tribal work that I liked with a horse head figure and the gaelic word for 'my angel'. And so Kate worked her magic.

It's placed over my left hip where I can touch and feel and see him every day. The tattoo artist did wonders with some of the curves, melding it with my own body shape so very little distortion occurs when I move. The ink looks like it's supposed to be there -- and it is.

the end of grief?
Getting the tattoo was a HUGE step and writing all of this out now is definitely an even larger step. The grief doesn't end or disappear but this will let me process through it all. It's been like a fire too hot to touch. I dance around it, I sometimes skip near it before leaving it alone. But this time I'm going to sit with the fire and accept it, remembering *everything* (good and bad!) until the fire is purged and I am left with the best of memories.

Why I'm writing this
I've held back a LOT about his death because I couldn't write about it -- part of this process is letting go, which includes writing it out. For me, when I write something out, I'm no longer carrying it around with me. The burden is lessened.
foalstory: (Allagash)
The Start of this tale

How do I start?

Two years ago I lost the love of my life?

I'm writing this in pieces, not in order although I'll link them together later. But the start is proving to be the most difficult part. This . . .

This is a tale of an amazing, strong, brave, athletic, studly, gorgeous, talented, smart, and lovable horse known as 'Ally'.

This tale is of his death. I firmly believe a sudden death, even violent, is preferred to what he ended up going through in the end. Easier for him, easier for me (perhaps). But mostly for him, because he deserved better than the early end he received.

January 3rd 2007, Ally was humanely put to sleep. That he hadn't died on his own was a daily miracle to me and the entire vet staff. That day he became my angel and remains so forever. But that final day is not where to start. Where to start is ... at the beginning.

foalstory: (Ally - goodbyes)
The Day After and beyond

Two years ago I woke up and could not believe it was real. I, who a year and a half ago had 5 horses, only owned one. ONE. One that still took me a week to get to the barn to go see again.

the flowers
The shock and total NUMBNESS was unlike anything else in my experience, including the overmedication of drugs this summer. But it was real. The flowers staring at me on the kitchen bar and the table were evidence of that. NO ONE sends me flowers. Not quite like …. this.

That day only showed with more flowers and more until I didn't know what to do with them all except clip some buds and let them float in glasses and dishes. The cats knew respect and stayed away from them (thank you darlings).

the blanket
The polar fleece blanket liner he'd worn until a few minutes before the end sat in one of the kitchen chairs, haphazardly folded. The day before I could barely put it down. I had even gone so far as to debate sleeping with it, but the buckles and rings weren't exactly the most comfortable. Yet, I could stand within a foot or to of it and still smell HIM.

In the following days, when I felt TOO numb, I'd pick it up, hug it and bury my face into the fleece, breathing in until I was bawling again. The numbness, was gone. I could feel again.

The plan was to keep the blanket around until it no longer made me cry -- that would be my test on when my grief was gone. But in this case, my grief outlasted nature. If I had it now, I'd still cry. But my the middle of summer, the blanket only smelled like a blanket -- not like Ally, not anymore. So I finally washed it.

And then proceeded to wait a year and a half before I could even consider SELLING it, although I never wanted to use it on Denali or any other horse.

Now, I hate that blanket. That pattern, that design, the colors. It's something I cannot avoid because of the associations. Rarely did we unblanket Ally entirely, so the fleece was what he wore when you could see the changes in him -- how much LESS there was of him, how it draped, how it hollowed out, how his edema still hung below, how the belly strap had to be lengthened to not tighten against the edema, how the body that was fit, masculine, strong, powerful, gorgeous and HEALTHY used to fill out the blanket and how that was so completely ... gone.

Beyond the flowers and blanket, I couldn't deal with the grief. I curled up into a ball on the sofa, on the floor, in my bed. I slept as much as I could, I tried to go online, but even that had it's pain as I shared the news and received so much love and condolences from friends near and afar. I have no words to express the appreciation, but it did well to overwhelm me, until I was bawling again.

Then the CARDS started to arrive. People did this? I suppose that they DO after all else. Two stand out in my mind - one from Alison with her good luck braclet from showing all summer long (which I still have on the gear shift in my car). The other from Sam, a braid of embroidery thread including one strand of General's hair. my gods, what gifts.

All Else
When we still believed he'd live, I'd had my first 'wishlist' but it was for Ally 100%. In the end it was for Denali although I got as many Mrs. Pasture's cookies into Ally as possible. It was hard to spoil Denali and I received so much … I think the ones I grabbed from the tack trunk on Friday were the last of those same cookies (I'm serious, I had close to 50 lbs in the end… Ally ate 15 lbs of them). I should have - realized now - done thank you cards because the offers, the gifts, the support, was *amazing*, but I was in no shape to do more than babble the most heartfelt thank you possible through emails, LJ posts and the phone.
foalstory: (Default)
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DUH. FLYING. why do you think I love jumping horses so much???
foalstory: (Denali - winter mountains)
Denali continues her tradition -

Christmas Eve +
Snow Storm +
Pasture +

and she insists upon staying outside.

ooookay girly. Enjoy yourself! :)

the years

Dec. 24th, 2008 01:16 pm
foalstory: (Ally - goodbyes)

I'm still trying to get the scanner working so I can add photos to my last horse history post and then go forward. However, there's one thing that's appropriate for today.

Christmas Eve Morning trail rides.

For a few years we used to do this, Jenny and me (whom I just found on facebook recently, yay!) and sometimes Elena or others. At least one year it was foggy as anything and we rode through the hillside trails in the mist. It was surreal and just awesome. I remember that the most, second only to riding over to the elementary school and galloping across the forbidden soccer fields. These were my 'Wings' years (the horse I rode) and as an ex-racing quarterhorse, he did pretty well. It was also the only time I got to let a horse go full-out at that point in my life -- and probably when I got addicted to galloping (which I couldn't really fulfill until I got to college).

So every Christmas Eve day I remember these rides. Much better memories than where I was two years ago. Wow, what a contrast.

2 years ago ->
foalstory: (Default)
lovely day yesterday on Denali -- hoped on bareback (with pad though since she's still a bit thin) and jumped a bit since some lovely fences were set up. Realized afterwards this as the first time I had jumped her since Steph took photos of us, which was also a a month since the time before.

Jumping bareback is good for us -- with my focus on balancing my seat, I can't brace and hold her back. I HAVE to flow with her no matter what happens, so we go so much nicer. Sweet! I like and we had a blast :)

not even sore today, rock on.

ho ho ho!

Dec. 24th, 2008 11:26 am
foalstory: (Default)

Rudolph the red-nosed foalstory
Had a very shiny nose.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
from the Christmas Song Generator.

Get your own song :
foalstory: (Default)
My Horse History

Part 1: Just trying to get on a horse

I was a difficult child who rarely asked for anything, which made birthdays and Christmas tricky for my mother to figure out. But in my childhood I remember asking for only two distinct things: violin/music lessons and horseback riding lessons. Both were to start when I was eight, but I didn't know this until much later.

When I was sledding when I was seven, I took a horrible spill and landed, on my back, on the top of a mogul. Xrays, er visit and bed rest orders, on the way home from the hospital, my parents decided to tell me that for my eighth birthday I WAS going to get riding lessons, but I couldn't have them now because of the accident. Cruel. So so cruel.

So my years of watching out the car window for horses and crying inside continued. I dreamt of riding, I imagined having my own horse, my own companion, the normal girly dreams. I could count the two pony rides and one trail ride (on what I swear was a mule) in Yosemite but they did very little to satisfy the riding I really wanted to be doing.

When I was eight, we had a rather eventful trip to Mexico -- during which we were walking on the beach where they had trail ride horses picketted. Except there was no clear way around them since the tide was high and the rest was rocky (and we were barefoot). So we made our way down through the lines of horses, me at the end....

at which point something happened and one horse ran backwards INTO me, kicking and slamming my foot between hoof and sand (thankgod for soft sand!). It still hurt like a b*tch and we hobbled over to the nearby Hilton and tried to wash off the blood and figure out wtf I had done. I remember horrid pain, then my parents got the hotel to give us/rent/whatever a room in the unused wing of the hotel where a Doctor met us and gave me a tetnus shot INTO THE BOTTOM OF MY FOOT. (unused wing so I wouldn't scare the guests with my screaming, which I did. LOUDLY.)

And I STILL asked for riding lessons after that, even if I was scared shitless of the backside of horses :P

When I was nine or ten, I *did* get riding lessons. Two of them, to be exact. While I got to trot on my first lesson and even go over trot poles and learn how to kick a horse away from going into the center of the arena …. those lessons were fleeting. The stables was being redeveloped and closing down so all of two lessons before … poof! Gone. And left me wanting so so so much more.

The summer when I was ten, I saw a pamphlet for "San Dominico Riding Stables Horse Camp" in my parents' office. I asked mom about it (!!askED!) but my summer was already booked up. I uncovered it again at the START of summer when I was eleven and permission was finally granted. I was signed up for one week of beginning horse camp.

And so I started my years as a lesson student. Photos and more chapters to follow :)
foalstory: (Denali - winter mountains)
oh right.

So apparently Denali's opting out of the barn again. *sigh* why does she do this more in winter than summer???

Any how, she spent last night outside. Betcha she wanted IN this morning ;) snow storm and all.


(which is to say she spent the night in pasture last night cause she didn't want to be caught to come inside for dinner)
foalstory: (Denali - snow)
ponies? not happening tomorrow :P although i WILL bundle up and get to the barn to find gloves to mail off as well as take photos of some of the ponies for xmas ornaments. yay, frozen fingers!

hi, I'd like a heated barn now, thanks!

foalstory: (Denali - hug)
I had a really rather amazing dressage lesson last Friday. Obviously, overdue to journal about it, but I'm not sure WHAT to say.

Well, time off does us both good. No real 'serious' riding (hacking, bareback, etc only) for a while so this was our first serious riding. And? it ROCKED. Denali was more through in her back than she's EVER been, and that was just in the warm-up on the lunge line (her, not me). Even hyper, she was still listening to me superbly and it was a joy to work with her.

Riding wise, our shoulder-in work was smoother and more relaxed than its ever been with adjustments and riding on my part done almost entirely from my hips and core.

At one point I *did* have to focus on my hands (which were numb, even in winter gloves, so that didn't help much) to get a lighter "feel" of her and make sure I was releasing more to give her room. Well, after trot shoulder-ins, I let her trot out (straight) to just move and DAMNED! the *best* extended trot we've ever gotten out of her. The rest of the lesson was a solidification of peaks of brilliance we'd seen before, but this? this was new. Balanced, Forward, Relaxed .... I rode it better, she gave it better.

Rinse, repeat. Even in her 'not as good' direction, she was superb. Sweet!

The canter work was not perfect from the start, but going with the "less is more, meditate" mantra, I worked a few circles on lifting her from my core - NOT from my hands or too much rein - and she shifted into some excellent canter work, again in both directions.

So really what more could I ask for? :) not much! but it was a good good good hour.
foalstory: (Ally crest)
so far the xmas photo will involve:

reindeer antlers in green/red (her)
santa hat (me)
silver glittery streamer things (thin ones, to tie into mane)
thin red feather boa (lace/wrap around reins)
silver sparkly snowflake ornaments (hang from reins and bottom of stirrups)
silver/red/blue bows (various places, mostly on bridle)
thick red /w gold ribbon (thinking tail here)
fake green garland (to be cut into 4 pieces and wrapped around legs, probably over grey polos)

I think I'm good. not bad for about $15 :)

(psst. unless anyone has more suggestions? :) )
foalstory: (Default)
Courtney saves the day! *trumpets horn*

Or rather, Brody says THANK YOU HARPER!

foalstory: (Denali - bareback)
I just did somethingI haven't done since I started this journal (4? 5 years?)

I changed my default userpic.

*freaks out*


foalstory: (Default)

May 2009

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